No one told me this when I was going through my "transformation." My world was super murky and dark. I mourned losing the very things that I was so happy to have off my shoulders. I felt guilty moving on and becoming a person that others did not understand because of a new season they were no longer included in. Not because the door was not open for them to join, but because deep down, they were really not interested in being a part of my new season. It is funny how human nature almost cheers for someone to lose. Something I truly have never understood.

Why am I sharing this? Because I wish someone would have shared with me that the dark and murky times do not last forever. That sunshine will come and you will be so ridiculously proud of what you are about to do and become.
And for those of you that are going through your transformation while keeping a smile on your face like I did, I see you! Stay strong. The best is yet to come!

Happy Veterans Day!

My heart could burst every single time I see this picture! This exact moment, will forever be in my memory! My baby had his Daddy back. The look on his face says it all! Happy Veterans Day!

“Veterans know better than anyone else the price of freedom, for they’ve suffered the scars of war. We can offer them no better tribute than to protect what they have won for us.” - President Ronald Reagan, 1983

Muffin Recipe | Sense and Edibility Edition

Made with "Love" Blueberry and Chocolate Chip Muffins

I have seen many individuals label their food posts, "Made with Love." What?! Who loves to cook? To be fair,  as a working mother,  I was cooking strictly out of necessity. I would search, "Quick Recipes" on Pinterest. If the total prep time exceeded 15 minutes, I was moving on. That is until recently.... I recently wrote a blog post Magnolia Journal | I Am In Love. In this post I described how much I enjoyed this magazine. I felt like every article touched my heart. The words from one particular article kept running through my head, Dinner: The most important meal of the day. The message of the article was essentially that Joanna's family wanted to stay in for dinner. They wanted to stay in and break bread at their table as a family. During their extremely busy season of life they were in, "table time" was a way to feel grounded and connected with one another. As I read those words, my heart ached a little. My thoughts on cooking are simple, my family has been fed.... I could not remember the last time I had made a meal with love. Have I ever? I am certainly not one to compare myself to others. I find that to be a waste of time. But I am humble enough to learn from others and my heart and mind started thinking.

After doing a little soul searching, I made the decision to make an extreme effort to provide several homemade meals each week. The one ingredient that had to be in every recipe, love! Identifying a problem is important, coming up with its solution, is equally important. My solution, look into my abundant and extremely talented list of friends to find a person who loved to cook. It took two seconds for me to narrow it down. It was like the Lord hit me on the head with the name, Marta Rivera Diaz. I let out a sigh of relief. I had found my real life Joanna Gaines. Let me tell you a little about my beautiful and talented friend, Marta....

Marta is magnetic and magnificent! She is combination of Audrey Hepburn and Joanna Gaines. I remember the first time I met Marta like it was only yesterday. We both attended PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) at Fort Bliss. She had created these amazing cakes for one of our events. I was in awe! During our time at Fort Bliss, Marta ran a bakery from her home. My son, Owen, would beg me to take him to Ms. Marta's to claim some of her delicious breads and sweet treats! Her bake goods not only nourished Owen's body, but his soul too! The look on his face when he would take the first bite of bread, can't be forgotten. Luckily, Marta had given me the tool to duplicate that look on Owen's face. I happened to have that tool right on my bookshelf. Oh yes, I have forgotten to mention that Marta has a cookbook, TASTE&SEE COOKS. She also has a captivating blog, Sense and Edibility . Her recipes, stories, and photography are captivating. I know, I know, She is AMAZING!

I pulled out my copy of Taste and See Cooks and started thumbing through the pages trying to channel my inner Marta. My fingers were drawn to her muffin recipe. My thought process..1. It seemed like a basic recipe to begin with, 2. I had all of the ingredients, & 3. I had blueberries that needed to be used up...Perfect! Now to start baking. I promised myself I would make this recipe EXACTLY as written and make it with a cheerful heart (love). There was even a moment I lost my mind, I had a dry measuring cup in my hand to measure out a liquid. I could hear Marta saying, "for realz Amanda, you better put that measuring cup down." I began laughing and quickly reached for my liquid measuring cup. Following the directions completely, I managed to bake the perfect muffins. I began beaming with pride and quickly called my boys (my husband and Owen) to the table. We enjoyed the muffins and each others company. My heart was happy....

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Yield: 1 1/2 dozen

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks (6 oz) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
10 oz fruit (about 4 cups, fresh or frozen0 or chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a muffin pan and line with baking cups.
2) In a medium size mixing bowl, sift the flour together, baking powder and soda, and salt. Repeat twice.
3) In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
4) Beat in eggs, one at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. Scrape down bowl and add vanilla. Beat for 5 minutes more.
5) Add sour cream and milk and mix to combine.
6) With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Mix until just combined to avoid overworking the flour's gluten.
7) Fold in the fruit (or chocolate chips) gently. Make sure not to overwork the batter by mixing too much.
8) Fill each muffin cup 2/3 of the way. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched. I find using a Muffin Scoop makes this task easier.
9) Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan to cool completely.

Find out more about Marta at her website,  Sense and Edibility. Interested in purchasing Marta's Book? Order it HERE.

The stunning Marta!

Click Here To Order Your Cookbook Today

5 Social Media Tips | Facebook Edition

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Social media is a fun way to keep up with your friends, but it can also be a great addition to your career with endless income possibilities and reach. Don't leave money on the table by not utilizing social media for your business. Watch 5 Social Media Tips | Facebook Edition for some quick tips for utilizing your social media account for your business. Drop a link to your business Facebook Page in the comments and I will be sure to follow.

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